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  • Kathmandu residents protest a day ahead of the deadline for a new constitution

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL – 21 January 2015. After an early-morning brawl between opposition and ruling party lawmakers erupted at the Constituent Assembly (CA) and a daylong strike that shuttered Kathmandu on Tuesday, Nepali lawmakers met once again to discuss key provisions of the long-awaited Constitution at 11:00 am on Wednesday. However, little was achieved, as the session was postponed after only 15 minutes to 1:30pm; after only 10 minutes of meeting, the session was again suspended until Thursday – the CA’s self-imposed deadline for promulgating the new Constitution. Meanwhile, Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal apologized for the brawl that erupted in the CA early Tuesday morning, further explaining that the party had told its members to chant slogans in order to disrupt proceedings, but that they had had no intention of starting a fight.

    At the heart of the debate regarding the Constitution is the issue of federalism. The Maoist-led 30-party alliance is calling for around a dozen identity-based states in order to address issues of discrimination against marginalized groups, while the ruling Nepali Congress party and the Unified Marxist-Leninist party are against such a system. The Maoists have threatened to boycott the new Constitution and to stage mass protests if the ruling party pushes the Constitution through the CA without first establishing consensus, and say negotiations should continue until such a consensus is reached.

    Outside of the Constituent Assembly, at least four groups of protesters demonstrated against the draft of the Constitution, and in particular over issues related to federalism and the rights of marginalized groups in Nepal. Meanwhile, the international community, through the United Nations Resident Coordinator, issued a statement calling on all parties to return to the negotiating table and condemned “violence or threats of violence.” However, with the opposition coalition and the ruling parties still unable to come to an agreement, it is increasing likely that the deadline for promulgating the Constitution will be delayed once again.

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: Nepali Prime Minister Sushil Koirala greets members of the press at his arrival at the Constituent Assembly for today’s meeting on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: Nepali opposition lawmakers shout slogans while obstructing today's meeting of the country's Constituent Assembly on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: Nepali police forces stand behind a razor wired barricade set up to impede access to protesters to the Constituent Assembly a day ahead of the deadline for a new constitution on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: Nepali police forces block demonstrators during a protest near the Constituent Assembly a day ahead of the deadline for a new constitution on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: An opposition supporter places a headband on a fellow demonstrator during a protest in Babarmahal towards the Constituent Assembly a day ahead of the deadline for a new constitution on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: A demonstrator holds a flag as a group of protesters march towards the Constituent Assembly a day ahead of the deadline for a new constitution on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo; ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: A group of women march in Babarmahal holding flags during a protest a day ahead of the deadline for a new constitution on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: Demonstrators march in Babarmahal while police forces watch from an elevated position during a protest a day ahead of the deadline for a new constitution on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: A group of demonstrators lead a march while shouting slogans during a protest a day ahead of the deadline for a new constitution on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: A demonstrator holding banners sits on the ground as police forces block their march during a protest near the Constituent Assembly a day ahead of the deadline for a new constitution on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: A protester shouts slogans while leading a march during a protest a day ahead of the deadline for a new constitution on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JANUARY 21, 2015: Nepali police forces block access to a group of pro-constitution students a day ahead of the deadline for a new constitution on January 21, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: ©Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved

    Photography: © Omar Havana / All Rights are Reserved.

  • Inside: A Cambodian Slaughterhouse

    In a country where the demand for meat is ever increasing and where pork is generally favoured, Cambodia’s swine slaughterhouses are an important business. The Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture estimates that there is a total yearly production of over 2.4 million pigs.

    SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA: A worker removes the insides from a pig while others perform different duties inside a slaughterhouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Are Reserved

    Hidden in the darkness of the outskirts of Siem Reap, the city of the famous Angkor temples, an old abandoned building has been transformed into a pig slaughterhouse, where hundreds of animals are killed every night. Rivers of blood cover the floor of the building while dozens of workers, most wearing nothing but underwear, rush between the cries of the pigs to make a living.

    SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA: A young worker places a pig inside a big pot of boiling water to remove the pig’s hair inside a slaughterhouse where he works every night for seven hours in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Are Reserved

    Despite lingering fears from the 2009 swine flu epidemic, there is little regulation over these slaughterhouses. The process by which pigs are slaughtered are less than hygienic. One employee in a slaughterhouse can kill and gut up to 30 pigs a night over a seven hour shift. 

    SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA: A worker cuts different parts of the pigs piled on the floor inside a slaughterhouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Are Reserved

    As the animals arrive, they are lined up to their death. Those who try to escape are hit with bamboo sticks on the head, just one of the ways in which their lives will come to a brutal end. The animals are then swiftly killed by a knife stab to the neck, and then washed and gutted on concrete slabs and the floor itself. 

    SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA: A worker cleans the insides of pigs in buckets of water inside a slaughterhouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Are Reserved

    Between the thousands of flies wandering around, there is little time to waste for the workers, as markets in Cambodia open soon after dawn. Everyone here has a duty, from the young boy hitting pigs with huge bamboo sticks to those who split the animals’ bodies in two, taking their guts out. Two doctors stepping on floors full of blood certify the quality of the product in no more than a few seconds of inspection, and a broker chooses the animals that are going to travel in the back of a dirty truck to the local markets to supply the increasing demand for pig meat in Cambodia. 

    SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA: A veterinarian certifies the quality of pigs hanging inside a slaughterhouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Are Reserved

    The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) dictates that the best way to avoid contamination of the meat during the slaughtering process is to avoid contact with the floor, something which is ignored in this slaughterhouse where pigs are thrown to the floor many times during the killing process.

    SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA: Two young men pile cuts of pig meat into the back of a truck outside a slaughterhouse to be sold to vendors in one of the local markets in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Are Reserved

    SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA: A woman sells meat inside Psa Leur market in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Are Reserved

  • Tibetan Refugees gather to celebrate the 55th anniversary of their exile in Nepal

     

    Thousands of Tibetan refugees gathered on the 66th International Human Rights Day in order to raise awareness about the situation of Tibet and to celebrate their 55 years in exile in Nepal at the Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding School in Tinchuli, Kathmandu, Nepal.

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL. December 10th, 2014. A group of exiled Tibetans, including Buddhist monks, stand in front of a wall painted with the Tibetan Flag during the celebrations of the 55th Anniversary of their exile in Nepal from Tibet at the Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding School in Tinchuli, Kathmandu, Nepal on 10 December 2014. Photo by Omar Havana

    More than 20,000 Tibetans currently reside in Nepal, many of whom have been there since the exile of the Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1959. Before 2008, as many as 2,000 Tibetans were still arriving in Nepal each year, although that number dropped to less than 200 per year by 2013, trekking across Himalayan mountain passes to reach Nepal. Many of them then cross into India, where they are given political asylum, as they are denied identity documents, access to free education and health services and livelihood opportunities by Nepali authorities.

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL. December 10th, 2014. A group of exiled Tibetan monks carry a photo of the 14th Dalai Lama during the celebrations of the 55th Anniversary of their exile in Nepal from Tibet at the Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding School in Tinchuli, Kathmandu, Nepal on 10 December 2014. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Reserved

     The flight of Tibetan citizens from Tibet began during the Chinese Maoist government’s expansionist policy between 1949 and 1959, with many fleeing to India and some to Nepal. After the 1959 Lhasa uprising, Nepal opened its borders for Tibetan refugees, resulting in a significant increase in the number of Tibetans entering Nepal. However, following the signature of a treaty between Tibet and China in 1986, the flow of refugees into Nepal was substantially reduced. New and even stricter border control policies enacted by Nepal in 1989 due to Chinese pressure resulted in even greater restrictions on the ability of Tibetan refugees to enter Nepal.

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL. December 10th, 2014. A group of exiled young Tibetan women put on make up in preparation for the celebrations of the 55th Anniversary of their exile in Nepal from Tibet at the Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding School in Tinchuli, Kathmandu, Nepal on 10 December 2014. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL. December 10th, 2014. An exiled Tibetan dancer performs traditional dances during the celebrations of the 55th Anniversary of their exile in Nepal from Tibet at the Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding School in Tinchuli, Kathmandu, Nepal on 10 December 2014. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL. December 10th, 2014. A exiled Tibetan man holds a Tibetan praying wheel in front of a pile of burning incense during the celebrations of the 55th Anniversary of their exile in Nepal from Tibet at the Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding School in Tinchuli, Kathmandu, Nepal on 10 December 2014. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL. December 10th, 2014. A exiled Tibetan woman places a traditional Katha in front of a portrait of the 14th Dalai Lama during the celebrations of the 55th Anniversary of their exile in Nepal from Tibet at the Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding School in Tinchuli, Kathmandu, Nepal on 10 December 2014. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Reserved

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL. December 10th, 2014. Two young exiled Tibetan Buddhist monks stand in front of a wall painted with the Tibetan Flag during the celebrations of the 55th Anniversary of their exile in Nepal from Tibet at the Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding School in Tinchuli, Kathmandu, Nepal on 10 December 2014. Photo: ©Omar Havana. All Rights Reserved